Stop the use of online proctoring exams at University of Amsterdam

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Today, 6th of May, the University of Amsterdam has announced to implement proctoring exams using Proctorio with the argument "We understand online proctoring is an invasion of your privacy. We are mindful of this, but have decided to use online proctoring nonetheless.

The use of this program entails consenting to our screen, webcam, audio, keystrokes, and some information about your computer system being recorded. They claim it is to monitor eye movement or if "you are typing much more or less than fellow students". Furthermore, they will ask to share video of our entire room and ask to share our screen to do this exam. It is the opinion of myself and many other students that such examination practices are not acceptable and should not be implemented. 

Many students, both situated abroad and in the Netherlands, have expressed their concerns including and not limited to: 

  • Lack of good computer 
  • Lack of good internet 
  • Invasion of privacy
  • Stressful exam environment (the monitoring of eye movement, etc. has been mentioned multiple times)
  • Giving access and control of our computer to a third party software
  • Security concern for our most intimate technology device 

We have been given a manual on proctored exams that has amplified our concerns. Hardware, software, or internet connection failures during the exam will be seen as 'force majeure' resulting in a missed opportunity to take the exam, so failing. Furthermore, the advice given to minimize invasion of privacy is to remove objects that express political, sexual, religious preferences. It was also advised to remove any objects that could be considered offensive to the reviewers or teaching staff.  

There has been other exams so far without the use of proctoring software which include:

  • Open-book exams 
  • Open-question exams with limited time 
  • Multiple choice questions on canvas with limited time (A professor has created one where questions are randomly assigned that are of the same level of difficulty so sharing of answers are virtually impossible)
  • Alternative assignments such as essay writing that uses critical thinking 

There are many alternatives that are not limited to those above and which do not invade a student's privacy and do not have a security concern. These do not require:

  • Computer/Laptop with high quality camera and microphone
  • Perfect internet connections that is consistently reliable 
  • Room scans (which are an invasion of privacy)
  • Monitoring of our screens, microphone, sound, eye-movements.
  • Giving access and control of our computer to a third party software

As mentioned, there are other exam alternatives that address privacy and security concerns and are still of high quality. It is wrong to force students to choose between their privacy and security or failing an exam. With this petition, we are asking the University of Amsterdam to listen to their students concerns and reconsider their acceptance of this software.